Scientists confirm that Mars’, Gale crater, was once an actual lake that contained liquid water. This announcement presents new theories that may confirm the suspension of life, similar to earth’s, once existing on Mars.
The Curiosity rover’s ongoing investigation of the massive Martian, geological anomaly, known as the Gale crater, has presented Earth with images of the mountain residing in its center. Scientists believe this mountain, known as mount Sharp, was created by a process of sediment and rock accumulating and eroding, due to liquid water, and had occurred over the duration of millions of years.
Over two-years-ago, when NASA’s rover first touched down in the Gale crater, it had begun the process of regularly relaying images and data for scientists to study. During the last several months, it has been traveling on a south-bound course, towards the foothills of Mount Sharp, located in the center of the crater. While engaging in this mission, the Curiosity rover has been collecting readings and pictures at numerous assorted rock formations. Scientists had noticed that layers of rock were slanting in a manner that would be similar to the same geological layers of rock found in rivers, that empty into large shallow bodies of water, on earth. These geological patterns in the layers of rock imply that at one time running water had altered the rock formations on Mars’ surface.
If these findings are correct it would permit a stronger argument for those who claim that Martian life, at one point in time, was a possibility. For a planet to be able to sustain many large bodies of liquid water, it would need an atmosphere that was similar to the atmosphere of Earth. Scientists theorize that if a planet’s atmosphere is to thin, the planet would not be able to protect and contain the water on its surface.
The Gale crater or Gale lake is approximately 154 kilometers (96 miles) wide and at leats 5 kilometers (3.5 miles) deep. Scientists believe that for a lake of that size to be able to produce a mountain of that magnitude, around 5 kilometers high, Mars must have had a sufficient atmosphere that lasted millions of years, allowing liquid water to create Mount Sharp.
NASA claims that they were aware of the crater and the possibilities that it held, but were not able to closely study the site from orbit. The aero-space group also stated that one of the reasons they had chosen the crater as the landing site for Curiosity was due to the possible discoveries it could make in that location.